Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is backing deposed captain Lee Cattermole to bounce back from the disappointment of being dropped from the team.
The 23-year-old midfielder was left sitting on the bench last Sunday as Bruce took drastic action following a disappointing start to the season and was rewarded with a thumping 4-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Stoke.
But the manager revealed his enforcer has already started the fightback, saying: "Typical of Lee, he has rolled up his sleeves and got on with it, and he has trained like a beast this week. I think he understood that the fight with injuries and all the rest of it, that he wasn't quite there at the moment."
He added: "He understood it and took it like the man he is and make no mistake, he will be doing as much as he can to get himself back into the team."
Bruce started with seven of his 11 summer signings at the weekend after a run of five games in all competitions without a win. And he was vindicated as his side produced their best and most sustained display of the campaign to date to end their drought.
He said: "On Sunday, I might have got it right. Before the game, there would be people questioning me, saying 'Why is he playing him?' and 'Why is he not playing him?'.
"That's football management. You are paid to make big decisions, sometimes difficult ones. It was difficult to leave the captain out, it was difficult to leave Jack Colback out, but I just thought the balance of the team wasn't quite right.
"On Sunday, thankfully the result goes your way and for me, the balance was better than it had been in the previous couple of weeks."
Bruce could effectively have another new face available to him before very long following David Meyler's return from his latest lengthy injury lay-off, with the 22-year-old Irishman playing 45 minutes for the reserves against Gateshead on Wednesday, his first run-out in more than eight months.
However, Bruce will take no chances with a man whose career on Wearside to date has been blighted by fitness problems, saying: "We have got to be really careful with him. It's the first step again to a comeback which we hope will be successful. But if anybody is going to get it done, then he will. He's got the mentality to see it through.
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